What To Do If Someone Goes Unconscious From a BJJ Choke

What To Do If Someone Goes Unconscious From a BJJ Choke

Various combat sports like Jiu-Jitsu, Karate, Judo, and others are defensive in nature. Later these fighting styles were modified in sports and played, watched, and loved all over the globe. Multiple gyms in every part of the globe are giving training for combat sports.

Choke out is also a part of various combat sports like Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Judo, and MMA. Various chokeholds which are famous for the most wanted submissions are part of combat sports.

Chokes in any combat sports are not taken for granted. Various precautions and post-treatments are used to avoid any serious damage from the choke-out. Here we have a comprehensive discussion of BJJ chokes and unconsciousness from chokes.        

1. What is Choke Out?

Being choked out is a result of a combat strategy that involves a chokehold and can cause unconsciousness or syncope. This chokehold is a hand-to-hand strategy that is used to get someone tapped. 

2. Which Choke Holds are Common for Causing Unconsciousness

BJJ Choke Holds that can cause unconsciousness are,

  1. Rear Neck Choke (RNC)
  2. Collar Choke
  3. Arm Triangle
  4. Guillotine
  5. Triangle Choke

3. The Mechanism of Choking Out

Primarily choke-outs are of two categories.

3.1. Blood Chokes

Blood Chokes are those chokes that happen when the Blood supply to the brain is interrupted. Blood Chokes can cause unconsciousness due to less blood supply to the brain. 

3.2. Air Chokes

Air chokes cause unconsciousness by disrupting breathing for a longer time period. Air chokes usually do not cause loss of consciousness for a long time. This type of choke outs can easily be reversed in a few seconds.

3.3. Mechanisms

Mechanism of Blood Choke

The mechanism of getting unconscious from a chokehold is debated at various times. It is a consequence of inhibiting the blood flow to the brain. A pair of blood vessels present at the opposite sides of the neck is called the Carotid Artery. Like every other blood artery, carotid arteries also have receptors responsible for blood pressure named baroreceptors.

During a choke hold around the neck, Carotid arteries compress due to which blood pressure arises. This rise in blood pressure causes a response in the arteries of the brain and vasodilation happens in the brain.

Due to this brain vasodilation, blood that is already restricted at the neck causes a decrease in blood supply to the brain. This extreme decrease in blood pressure causes unconsciousness.  

Mechanism of Air Choke

The mechanism of unconsciousness from air choke is simple but more painful and dangerous. When pressure is applied to the delicate part of the neck (larynx and trachea), the cartilage in the trachea is crushed due to which the windpipe closed and does not give way to air to pass through it. The stopped breathing causes unconsciousness.

If a person cannot breathe due to air choke but he is in consciousness, he can ensure breathing by artificial coughing. Coughing opens the air pathway naturally. But in most air chokes causes unconsciousness and medical treatment is required.              

4. Signs of Choking Out

During BJJ, one of the most crucial things you should know is when it's time to tap. If you do not tap on time and give a submission, you might go unconscious. Pain is not an indication of choking out. The serious indication of choke out after which someone should not delay the submission are as follows:

  • Lightheadedness is the first ever thing that is a clear indication that you should tap now.
  • The buzzing sound is another indication that warns you to tap and not be stubborn at that point.  
  • The sight of stars can also start if your neck is pressurized more. 
  • Darkness and a light drop are the last sign and indications that you are late to tap and now you are going unconscious.

5. Effects of Choke Out   

Due to decreased blood supply to the brain cells, choke-outs can cause complications. It is very rare that choke-outs are observed to cause some serious problems or are fatal. But some short-term effects mostly happen. Here we have a list of some effects which can be seen after choking out.

5.1. Headache

After choking out, a headache is common. Your whole body faced a shock and your brain passed from a condition of blood deprivation. Headache is a result of a shocking situation.    

5.2. Convulsions

If a choke-out happens for more than a few minutes, due to brain damage it can result in convulsions. Convulsions can be similar to the epileptic convulsions. 

5.3. Brain Cells Damage

Brain cells can be damaged due to reduced oxygen supply to brain cells. If oxygen shortage is extended from seconds to minutes, it can cause severe and permanent damage to the brain.   

5.4. Blood Flow Problems

Chokeholds involve the blockage of blood vessels. After choking out, blood flow problems include thrombosis at the top of the list. 

5.5. Difficulty Swallowing

Air choke outs with high or elongated pressure on the windpipe can cause swallowing problems for the athletes who went through it.  

5.6. Hypertension

After a choke-out, people who never have problems with high blood pressure can also suffer from hypertension problems.    

5.7. Serious Choke-Out Problems

Choke Out rarely causes serious problems. There is not any death case recorded just after the choke out in Jiu-Jitsu and Judo. If choking out lasts for a long time, it can be harmful to the brain. Here we have a time limit value for the choking out that can cause serious damage. These values are observed in various gyms and are hypothetically induced values and do not have scientific evidence.

  • 10 seconds to 1 minute of shortage of oxygen to the brain can cause unconsciousness.
  • After 60 seconds, brain cells are prone to death.
  • After three minutes, a chokehold leads to permanent brain damage.
  • More than 5 minutes can cause death.

6. What to do if Someone Chokes Out

Safety precautions are the best way to protect yourself from the long-lasting effects of choking out. In every gym, various methods are used to treat unconsciousness from choking out. Here we have a discussion of those methods which are most frequently used and are found to be the affected ones.

6.1. Do not Panic

If you have seen someone unconscious due to a choke, the first thing you should do is not panic. If you follow some simple instructions you can wake up your partner or colleague easily. Choking out did not result in any severe aftereffects.  

6.2. Check His Breathing

If you find someone choking out around you, first of all, check for his breathing. If he is not breathing, ensure that his breathing is resumed. Loss of breath for a long time can cause death. If someone is not breathing after choking out, bow his head in front and back position. Ensure his tongue is not blocking his windpipe. 

6.3. Turn the Fainted Person into a Recovery Position

The most used and traditional way in various places to wake up the fainted person after a choke-out is reverting his position. Turn the fainted person on his back and hold their legs in the air. This will ensure rapid and more blood flow to the brain. This blood supply to the brain results in waking up the unconscious person.  

6.4. First Aid After Choking Out

When a person is choked out, he needs first aid just after the moment. In most cases, first aid is the only treatment that helps out the fainted person. Here we have some first aid methods which are very helpful for the choked-out one.

  • If a person is suffering from an air choke, he cannot breathe but he is conscious. Make him/her cough. Coughing helps to open the closed windpipe naturally.
  • If a person is unconscious and cannot cough himself, you can give him first aid by giving back blows, abdominal thrusts, or cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
  • If any pregnant female is choked out during training, you cannot give abdominal thrust. Chest thrust and CPR are suggested in this situation.

6.5. Call Ambulance

If first aid does not help out, call the ambulance. Do not wait for more than 20 minutes. Waiting for the person to wake up for more than 20 minutes can make a difference between life and death.

7. Conclusion

If you started your combat sports career, it is damn sure you will see some cases of choking out around you. Various chokeholds are allowed in combat sports like RNC, Arm Triangle, and Guillotine. The one and most effective way to prevent unconsciousness is tapping at the right time.

If someone gets unconscious, chest thrusts, abdominal thrusts, CPR, and pulling his legs while placing his back on the ground are the first aid strategies. If the unconscious person does not wake up in the next few minutes, now it is time to call the ambulance. 

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